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Category Archives: North America

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Monthly Archives: September 2020

Old Hands Turned New Hires – Chinese Espionage in the American Intelligence Community

June 26, 2021 08:47 PM
The People’s Republic of China has been recruiting retired intelligence officers to leak classified information to the Chinese government. In just the latest part of uncovering this trend, the United States arrested Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, a former CIA officer, on August 14, 2020. In response to the incident, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers commented, “The trail of Chinese espionage is long and, sadly, strewn with former American intelligence officers who betrayed their colleagues, their country and its liberal democratic values to support an authoritarian communist regime.” Chinese intelligence has been using a combination of traditional espionage techniques, artificial intelligence, and misinformation to achieve its recruiting and espionage goals. The Chinese government has had clear successes in hiring spies from within the United States, and if this trend continues, it will undermine American intelligence and national security aims.
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Cybersecurity: Closing the Back Door to America's Enemies

April 27, 2021 09:13 AM
On October 25, 2012, The New York Times published an eye-opening report on an extensive, billion-dollar business empire constructed by relatives of China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao. Three months later, the Times revealed it had been undergoing intense cyber attacks even before the report was publicly released. Cooperating with AT&T, the FBI, and a leading cybersecurity firm, the Times pinned the digital break-ins on Chinese hackers, adding that the Chinese military was likely involved.
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Security Costs of the U.S. National Debt

April 26, 2021 06:52 PM
In the last Presidential debate of the 2012 election cycle, both President Obama and Governor Romney referred to the U.S. national debt as a growing threat to security. These claims echo the 2011 remarks of Admiral Michael Mullin, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asserting that the national debt is the greatest security threat currently facing the United States. In addition to severe economic problems, the inability to resolve the debt issue may result in a weakened ability to pursue military and diplomatic missions, an increase in domestic human security problems, and an expansion of foreign influence regarding U.S. policy.
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Hijacking a Rebellion: New Trends in al-Qaeda Tactics

April 26, 2021 06:50 PM
Events in the Middle East and North Africa in recent months indicate a major shift in strategy by al-Qaeda and its affiliates. While many officials mistake this shift as a sign of al-Qaeda’s looming defeat, it actually displays a rapidly growing danger to U.S. national security. Al-Qaeda’s new ability to capitalize on instability amid preexisting rebellions is quite disturbing, and is occurring in several locations. The place of most significance for al-Qaeda is Syria, but a look at their ongoing late-phase operation in Mali can offer some insights into future developments in Syria.
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The Dangers of an Anxious Iranian Government Perceiving a ‘Psychological War’

April 26, 2021 06:29 PM
On Tuesday, President Ahmadinejad accused the United States and “internal enemies” of waging a “psychological war” against Iran in an attempt to stop Iranians from ditching the weakening rial for U.S. dollars. This “war” refers to the significant problems Iran faces, including the U.S.-led economic sanctions, a threatened Israeli military strike, and now internal protests. While this perceived psychological war against Iran has yet to turn into a physical conflict, the United States and Israel must be aware that increasing pressure may cause the Iranian military and government to act erratically, which may lead to Iranian military action.
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Is Deterrence a Viable Option for a Nuclear Iran?

April 26, 2021 05:33 PM
Iran’s nuclear program has again entered the spotlight of U.S. foreign policy debates in a election cycle in which foreign policy has taken the backseat. The current debates often result in three scenarios: 1) Iran gives up its nuclear program, 2) Israel (with or without U.S. assistance) makes a preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, postponing Iran’s progress, or 3) The parties involved wait until Iran develops nuclear weapons and thus assure a nuclear exchange between Iran and Israel. Essentially, these scenarios ultimately result in either Iran ending its nuclear program or an unavoidable war between Israel (and therefore the U.S.) and Iran. These scenarios leave no room for the possibility of a nuclear Iran without war.
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Security Consequences of U.S. Political Extremism

April 26, 2021 04:43 PM
The recent debate over the Affordable Care Act, known to critics as Obamacare, highlights the growing divide in U.S. politics and the political culture that idolizes politicians with a ‘no-compromises’ stance. This was made abundantly clear through the fight over the constitutionality of the healthcare law as well as the recent Republican presidential primaries where Mitt Romney was accusingly labeled a “moderate” by competing candidates. Romney had to fight each surging challenger’s accusations of being moderate and continues to struggle against hard-liners of his party. This fight to assuage ideological worries within one of the major U.S. parties shows the pull away from the center towards the more hard-line views.
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Afghanistan's Dual Supply Problem

April 23, 2021 11:36 AM
Afghanistan will face two major issues this year. The more publicized issue is Pakistan’s refusal to open up their supply routes into Afghanistan for NATO use. The lesser known issue is the devastatingly poor poppy harvest. Both of these problems will create unique challenges for NATO forces. A brief examination of the problems will show points of concern that need to be addressed.
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Recent Trends in Radicalization

April 22, 2021 07:37 PM
The attack in France this past week at the hands of the terrorist Mohammed Merah is reawakening Europe to the realities of radicalization. This event should not be viewed as the beginning of a complex new terror campaign domestically but should be seen as an infrequent reality of war with terror groups. The majority of attempted domestic attacks have been unsuccessful for a number of reasons, and most people who are successfully recruited end up going to conflict areas in order to train and act out their new sense of ideology rather than stay in their country. A quick overview of some aspects of the radicalization process will reveal that there is no trend towards coordinated attacks or rampant radicalization in the West.
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Addressing Drug War Migration Patterns

April 22, 2021 07:23 PM
When thinking security threats in Latin America, one has to think about the bloody war on drugs raging in Mexico. Although Mexico is currently the battle arena of the war on drugs, Colombia previously held that position. At the time, the United States and Colombia worked together militarily to combat this threat. Their efforts resulted in the significant weakening of the Colombian drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and the subsequent rise of DTOs in Mexico. Removing the DTO threat in Colombia did not stop the drug trade in the Americas but merely displaced it, moving it along trade routes toward its largest consumer: the United States.
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Israel's Next Step

April 22, 2021 06:50 PM
Next Monday the Prime Minister of Israel will arrive in Washington, D.C. for an important security meeting with the President of the United States, Barack Obama. The focus of the meeting will be the ever-rising threat of a nuclear Iran. According to Israeli newspapers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will request that the U.S. deliver an explicit military threat to Iran following the meeting. On the other hand, White House reports say that the President will likely want more time for the current sanctions and diplomatic actions to take effect.
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Nuclear Reduction Considered

April 22, 2021 06:18 PM
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the White House and Pentagon are considering several plans to reduce its nuclear stockpile. The plans have not been presented to President Obama yet, but he will in the near future. The United States is currently under treaty obligations that require it to reduce the nuclear stockpile from the current 1,800 to 1,550 by 2018. However, the Obama administration is considering three plans to reduce this number further. The first plan calls for a moderate reduction in nuclear warheads which would leave between 1,000 and 1,100 intact. The second would reduce the number to around 700. The final, and most drastic, would reduce the U.S. nuclear stockpile to between 300 and 400 weapons.
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Winning Hearts and Minds…and (hopefully) the whole war too.

April 22, 2021 06:13 PM
The future of the War in Afghanistan became more complex on 1 February when Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the U.S. would end its combat role early by summer 2013. This significant development means that the counter-insurgency campaign that NATO is fighting will rely heavily on Afghan National Forces to control Afghan territory. The fate of the mission against the Al-Qaeda/Taliban forces and the stability of Afghanistan is depending on the success of this transition.
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Raymond Kinson’s Response to Slawson’s “Gitmo: It’s not even Over…”

April 15, 2021 06:30 PM
Michael Slawson, in his article “Gitmo: It’s Not Even Over When We Say It’s Over,” draws a predictable but flawed conclusion in his analysis of the Obama administration’s apparent decision not to close the Detention Center. He contends that holding and interrogating detainees without legal charges and in violation of legal rights is not only bad policy but a betrayal of American values. And there’s the flaw. Like the Obama administration, and the Clinton administration before them, Slawson considers the terrorist-detainees at Guantanamo Bay criminals when in fact they are prisoners of war.
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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Mapping Ganja Farms in St. Vincent

July 10, 2019 04:40 PM
The subject of marijuana growth, distribution and use has been a hot topic in our society today. There are many arguments both for and against the legalization of marijuana in the United States on a federal scale and ideas on how to monitor and tax marijuana that is legal in certain states. When observing cannabis policy debates among our politicians and leaders the focus is on home-grown cannabis and cannabis produced and transported to the United States from Mexico; small Caribbean islands are hardly on anyone’s mind.
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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Rising Tensions in the U.S.-China Trade War

July 06, 2019 02:59 PM
What are the implications of the current “trade war” between the United States and China? Where will the continuing negotiations lead each of these countries in their development, and relationships with one another as the top two-producing countries in the world?
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Monthly Archives: April 2019

The Taliban's end Game and the US Exit from Afghanistan

April 02, 2019 03:43 PM
The endgame for the Taliban is relatively straightforward. They have two main objectives and are determined to meet them. Their two objectives are to get all foreign troops out of the country and to implement Sharia law throughout all of Afghanistan. They will continue to wage terror on US troops and the Afghan people until these objectives are met.
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Monthly Archives: March 2019

Putin's alleged role in the US presidential elections

March 08, 2019 02:49 PM
Putin proved a major influencer in the US presidential election in 2016. Russian influence on the election first appeared four years before the actual election, when two Russians, working for the Internet Research Agency, acquired knowledge about US social media to help provide information to the Russian propaganda machine (Shane, Scott; Mazzetti, Mark. 2018). Additionally, his Russian spy agency, the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU) hacked the Democratic National Committee’s network to further reach his goal of getting Americans to vote for the candidate he wanted to see win.
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